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New Zealand ready for 'the worst-case scenario' with new virus outbreak

New Zealand ready for 'the worst-case scenario' with new virus outbreak
New Zealand has "36 more hours" before the full extent of the country's newest coronavirus infection is revealed, the country's deputy prime minister says.
The source of the new cases remains a mystery, Winston Peters said.
"We have about 36 more hours, I think, to get on top of the research behind this," Mr Peters told Today.
A police officer wearing a mask gets his morning coffee from The Store in Kohimarama as Auckland wakes to a return to level three lockdown on August 13. (Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
"Everyone is asking the same question, we don't know until we get the medical research in."
It comes as a student at Auckland's Mount Albert Grammar School has tested positive to the virus, with about 100 close contacts of the student now identified who will now need to go into self-isolation.
Health authorities are now investigating whether the coronavirus was brought into the country via refrigerated goods.
The cluster in Auckland has grown to five after a new positive COVID-19 case was confirmed yesterday, and up to 200 close contacts are being tested.
One of the first new cases was a man who worked at Americold, a cool store company in Mount Wellington.
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says the country is prepared for the worst. (Nine/Today) (Today)
Just how far the virus has spread was unclear, but authorities have prepared for the worst, Mr Peters said.
"It is a case of, I suppose, seeing things as the worst-case scenario so that you are not surprised.
"At this point of time we don't know how wide the spread us. Whether it has dispersed outside of Auckland and whether we have a fix on all the cases. It is one of those in-between times.
"We didn't expect it in New Zealand. We have to get on top it."
The country's largest city has been returned to a level three lockdown and the rest of New Zealand placed at level two after the first positive cases in 102 days were revealed on Tuesday.
Nurses speak to people at the Northcote COVID-19 testing facility as residents across Auckland rush to find out if they have coronavirus. (Getty)
The mood of New Zealanders was different to when the country was first put into lockdown at the start of the pandemic, he said.
"This is a case we were thinking we were out of there and people were pretty brassed off that we are back in it again," Mr Peters said.
"From the Prime Minister down we are all annoyed about this. We have to grit our teeth."
The latest outbreak has prompted calls from New Zealand's opposition party for the coming election, scheduled for September 19, to be delayed.
"The truth of the matter is, I think to be fair, the politicians need to butt out in this context," Mr Peters said.
"It is not about politics. It is not even about the election now. It is about the health of New Zealanders."